The FTX CrossFit Story

owners of FTX CrossFit
Our Owners

Mike Sell, TJ Lawson, JT Baginski, Zane Roebuck, Jimmy Walker & Ashley Sell

FTX CrossFit is a special place. It is much more than a gym. It’s a community where many lives have been impacted for the better. FTX was founded in 2011 by a United States Navy SEAL Veteran, and FTX stands for Final Training Exercise, which is a series of final tests that a Navy SEAL unit must pass to demonstrate being mission ready and able to deploy. Are you Mission Ready?

FTX has been a Wheaton landmark ever since. FTX is recognized for its incredible community, and our ability to unite people of all ages, abilities, and goals around a methodology that is accessible and effective for all. We train, persevere, and progress together. We build strong local communities that drive unparalleled progress and a deep sense of belonging.

Our coaches

Carol Matthias coach at FTX CrossFit

Carol Matthias


Tired of running 5ks and doing group exercise classes, Carol came to FTX CrossFit in 2012. She was quickly hooked on the variety of every workout and the community aspect. As she started at ground zero, not able to do many of the movements, and at a master’s age level, she is proof that anyone can be an athlete with consistency and effort. She got her CrossFit Level 1 in 2016 for her own development and started coaching soon afterwards.

Al Navata coach at FTX CrossFit

Al Navata


Al got involved with CrossFit in 2011 when FTX CrossFit first opened. He was hooked. It changed his life. Ever since then he has been sharing this passion with members. Anyone that knows Al will right away appreciate this passion. Al has a way to make members feel welcome and a part of the great community that comprises FTX CrossFit. Al is also the owner of BoxRat, which is a mission minded apparel company serving the CrossFit community.

Tim Archbold coach at FTX CrossFit

Tim Archbold


Tim is married to Karen, and they have 3 girls, Eleanor, Lucy, and Abigail. He has been a member of FTX since 2017 and now loves coaching. He is also a freelance cellist, who has played with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the Sydney Opera House, and regularly volunteers with the worship team at his church. Fun fact, he recently acquired a Salomon cello which was originally built in the 1760s. Here is an Australian, heavy lifting, workout machine, ready to prepare you for anything imaginable!

Joe Earley coach at FTX CrossFit

Joe Earley


Joe’s athletic background include gymnastics, triathlon, bike and obstacle course racing.  A friend suggested he try CrossFit, and he became immediately obsessed by the various challenges associated with the sport.

Joe’s  favorite aspect of coaching is developing athletes confidence by helping them performing skills they never thought were possible for them. Joe is motivated by helping athletes realize that age is not a limiter to become fitter, stronger, and more athletic.

Joe has been competing in CrossFit for 6 years and is a Level 1 CrossFit trainer.  Joe grew up in Glen Ellyn, and currently lives in Wheaton with 2 of his 3 sons.  Outside of CrossFit, Joe enjoys time with family and especially his 3 grandsons.

Jeremiah Clarkson coach at FTX CrossFit

Jeremiah Clarkson


Jeremiah has been competing in CrossFit since 2016. He was a former high-school athlete looking for a way to stay active and get a break from his studies while in college. Though the hard work and new physical challenges were what initially drew him in, the community he found kept him coming back, and, ultimately, the community is what changed his life. Since then, he has shared his love for CrossFit with almost everyone he knows–naturally and unapologetically. Over the years of training, competing, and coaching, he has learned a lot, and wants to give back to the community by cultivating the same experience he was given for so many years as a member.

Heather Cisowski


As a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heather is passionate about helping athletes meet their fitness goals in a safe and healthy way. She has worked with athletes of all different ages and abilities and enjoys watching each progress in their fitness and athletic abilities.  Heather has been coaching at FTX since 2013 and is a Level II CrossFit trainer.  She loves the CrossFit methodology as she finds it to be a fun and efficient way to prepare for whatever physical challenges life throws your way.  In her free time, Heather enjoys traveling, spending time with her husband, and volunteering at her church.

Lydia Sedjo coach at FTX CrossFit

Lydia Sedjo


Lydia first entered the FTX gym during November of 2022, and she intended to simply observe the coaches leading classes for a college major requirement.  She was invited by the instructor to do the workout with the class and found the environment, people, and work to be captivating.  The community and movements at FTX CrossFit helped her regain functional movement and strength after she suffered a concussion during her last season as a collegiate soccer athlete.  She was approached to join the FTX staff after she graduated, and she is thrilled to give back to the gym that helped her in multiple areas to recover from her injury physically and mentally.
Lydia has a passion for coaching individuals to achieve the best results they can at each session. Whatever their skill, strength, or flexibility level may be, she is excited to see them improve and grow in confidence.  Lydia has a diverse coaching palette as she coaches adults and kids at FTX and coaches a range of ages on the soccer pitch with a soccer ministry called Chicago Eagles.  Her desire is to see people motivated by their training improvements and encouraged by the CrossFit community.
Lydia grew up in the Chicago area and graduated from Grove City College with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science.  She received her CrossFit L1 certification in June, 2023.  She enjoys the outdoors, travel, and has dipped her creative talent in sport & wedding videography.
Mike Sell coach at FTX CrossFit

Mike Sell

Owner + Trainer

Specializations: Body Transformation Powerlifting Bodybuilding.

Mike graduated from Wheaton College in 2016 with a B.S. in Applied Health Science and has since used his education to make a difference in the world of personal health through a variety of start-up companies. He is Co-Owner and Head Powerlifting Coach at Midwest Strength + Performance, manufactures his own pre-workout through Clinically Dosed Supplements LLC, and serves as Vice-President of Betasol Consumer Products (Patented aerosolizer that lowers the health risks associated with smoking tobacco). He holds many National and World records in the sport of drug free powerlifting. Mike’s best lifts include a 675 lb squat, 440 lb bench press, and 700 lb deadlift. Mike specializes in helping people build strength while obtaining the body of their dreams. Outside of the gym, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife, Ashley, participates in competitive eating challenges, and plays chess with friends.

Jimmy Walker coach at FTX CrossFit

Jimmy Walker

Owner + Trainer

Specializations: Boxing, Youth Athletics, Private Training & Fascial Stretch Therapy.

Jimmy is a proud husband, father, experienced boxer, and personal trainer. As an active amateur boxer for more than 7 years, he has experience in many different training areas. He competed in Golden Gloves in 2008 and 2017, and took home the title of runner-up in 2017. His Boxing career and experience has fueled his passion for coaching prospective athletes and preparing them for the next level of competition. In addition to Boxing, he coaches athletes in a wide range of sports and specializes in Middle School and High School Athletics. Jimmy has over 10 years of personal training experience and enjoys incorporating fun fitness tools into his training programs including battle ropes, TRX, ladders, Steel Maces, and Steel Clubs. Jimmy is also a Fascial Stretch Therapy Practitioner, which is one of the quickest, most effective and pleasant methods to relieve pain, restore function, and move & feel better in the activities of life, fitness, and sports. Jimmy has additional training experience with clients that have: Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and Brachial Plexus.

Ashley Sell coach at FTX CrossFit

Ashley Sell

Owner + Trainer

Ashley is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, CrossFit Level 1, USAW Level 1, and a Certified Nutrition Coach through Renaissance Periodization. She was a four year starter on the Women’s Volleyball Team at Wheaton College (IL), and she was voted MVP her senior year for her role as an influential and impactful leader. She also has experience competing in drug-free powerlifting competitions and she set the Illinois State deadlift record in the AAPF in 2017. In High School, Ashley was voted the Orange County (CA) Athletic Director’s Association Athlete of the Year for her achievements as a CIF State Champion & Captain on the Varsity Volleyball team & CIF State Swimmer. Ashley also had a professional career before becoming an Owner at MSP, which included working at a large Chicago law firm, as a consultant for a legal technology company, and interning at the White House. At MSP, Ashley is focused on business operations, growth, and optimizing the community experience. She can answer any questions you might have about membership, classes, training options, and connecting with the right Coach!

Emily Hillstrom


Emily began working out at MSP in 2018 and under the guidance of Coach Mike Sell and fell in love with powerlifting and nutrition. After completing RP Strength’s nutrition course, she’s ready to help you meet your wellness goals! Based in Washington D.C., Emily is a remote coach for MSP.

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